The Fifth and Sixth Hadiths (Qualities for Marriage)
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) as saying, “A woman may be married for four reasons, for her property, her rank, her beauty and her religion; so get the one who is religious and prosper.” (Bukhari and Muslim.)
In a narration by Imam Ahmed: “…so get the one who is religious and well-mannered and prosper”
Abu Dawoud and Termidhi narrated from Abu Hurirah that Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) said:
“When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so there will be temptation in the earth and extensive corruption.”
1. Encouraging people to make marriage easier and more accessible by choosing the spouse smoothly, not according to difficult conditions.
2. Wealth and lineage is a requirement in choosing a woman or a man, and also good looks, if they are combined with religion, that is a good thing, but if there is a contradiction then choosing a religious spouse is more important.
3. When we choose our spouse, if four qualities exist then it is better than three, and three qualities are better than two, and two are better than one. Yet, being religious should be the first quality to look for in the future husband or wife.
4. Almighty Allah honors the woman by making her required for marriage, not the one who seeks it.
5. The wali (Islamic legal guardian) should give the woman in marriage, a woman does not give herself in marriage. In the two hadiths, the masculine singular and plural forms are used.
6. Religion and good character are two requirements in the man or woman.
7. Religion might be a quality in someone, but not character or good manners.
8. The Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) said: “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied…” and He did not say: “Who has religion and character” This indicates that it is a relative matter which could be different according to time, place and people.
9. Character is part of the religion, but it is mentioned separately to ascertain its importance. It might refer to the qualities of someone such as being cheerful and having a sense of humor. Someone who is religious might be cheerful and funny, or he might be serious and almost strict.
10. The word “prosper” implies gaining and victory, whoever marries a religious pious woman indeed wins.
11. The phrase used “Taribat yadaka” literally, "may your hands cleave to the dust". It is explained as being used to encourage one to action, and so it has been translated above by ‘prosper’.
12. Marriage is the only way for a man and woman to have a relationship, i.e. knocking on the door of the Muslim families and ask the hand of the daughter in marriage.
13. Making sure that the religion and character of someone is upright before accepting his marriage proposal, it is not enough when the one recommending him praises him, the family has to investigate the matter and ask others about his religion and character.
14. The word “fitnah” has several meanings when mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, in the hadith’ contextit means falling into sins and temptation due to not facilitating the legal relationship between the man and the woman, i.e. marriage.
15. Abandoning the lawful (marriage) might lead young people to fall into temptation and sins.
16. A man and woman are equal in choosing their spouse.
17. Not letting the people with religion and character be married and declining them creates vast corruption and decline.
18. The criteria of differentiating between people in terms of status should be corrected to be based on piety not the values of Jahiliah.
19. We should instill in young people the value of choosing based on marriage, so that when they are prepared to get married they do not face other contradictive and destructive criterion.
20. Women should not be forced to accept her guardian’s choice for her, even if he chooses a religious man as a spouse for her.
21. The second hadith does not imply that a woman should not refuse marrying a righteous man, she may refuse him. There is no disagreement in opinion about the permissibility of refusing the marriage proposal of a pious religious man. A woman may prefer an aspect or quality in a man exactly like when the man prefers a quality in her, she may refuse a man for being ugly or because she wants someone more attractive. A woman who was married to Thabit bin Qays bin Shams left him because of his looks. She did not criticize him for his character or religion, and Allah’s Messenger did not disapprove her choice and did not try to convince her to stay with him.
22. Attention should be paid to compatibility in religious commitment first and foremost. So a Muslim woman should not be given in marriage to a kaafir (disbeliever), or a chaste woman to an immoral man. The Qur’an and the Sunnah’ criteria for ranking people is their religion and piety.
23. We have to pay attention to two different aspects:
- Compatibility is a requirement in marriage, scholars think it is more likely that religion should be the only criteria for compatibility in marriage.
- Liking, desire and consent should exist in both, a person might be religious but the other party does not like him or even rejects him, even if he has wealth and comes from a big family with connection.
They are two separate issues, and each of them has different consequences.
24. If religiously it was enough to have piety without the feeling of liking someone and the consent to marry him, then it would not have been permissible to look at the betrothed.
25. The order of the characteristics mentioned in the hadith reflects that usually people’s interest in religion is not a priority.
26. Encouraging people to befriend the religious people in general, because their friends benefit from their manners and blessings. They are indeed well-mannered and harmless.
27. Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) used the word “gain” which implies that the religious woman is a treasure, and marrying her is a big win for the man because she will encourage him to obey Allah and help him to enter Paradise. She will be keen to give her children a solid Islamic upbringing.
28. The Islamic legal system focuses on the family and building it on good foundation of religion, piety and manners, starting with choosing good righteous spouse.
29. The phrase used “Taribat yadaka” literally, "may your hands cleave to the dust" is like the phrase “Raghm anfih” which literally means, “May his nose be dusted (i.e. may he be disgraced), such phrases are a sort of slang or colloquial language, they are not meant literally and it is not sinful when someone says such phrases.
The Arabic words “Inn” and “Itha” are used as conditional particles, but “Inn” is usually used in matters that are uncertain to happen or not favorable to happen while “Itha” is usually used in things that are certain to happen or favorable.
In the hadith: “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so there will be temptation in the earth and extensive corruption.”
“Itha” (when) is used here to indicate encouraging to accept the one with the religion and good character, while “Inn” (if) is used to indicate a warning against rejecting the person with religion and good character.